Monday morning and no place to go. After 35 years of practicing medicine and GI, including a year of eager anticipation, the day had arrived when there were no patients in my schedule. Nor would there be tomorrow. Nor the next day. I was happily accustomed to a scheduled life. For me it had been decades of awakening early, working out, assembling a breakfast to inhale in the car, kissing the ...

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Jimmy spent 10 years on the street chasing oxys and heroin. He lost his family and friends after lying and stealing. He lost his truck when the bank repossessed it. He lost his four-year-old son to the Department of Child Protective services. His life was like a country song. Now a member of our suboxone group, Jimmy has two years of sobriety under his belt, he is enrolled at the local ...

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To my fellow physicians: I apologize for asking you to do one more job. But I must. It is for the sake of humanity. We are already overburdened with the administrative nightmare that hospitals and insurance companies heap upon us. The struggle to find pride and purpose in our daily life has become a full-time job. We have become oppressed by our increasing allegiance to the demands of administrators as opposed to ...

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"Doctor, I need some orders for this patient. Can you do that soon so that I can get started?" I was just bringing up a preterm infant to NICU due to concerns for maternal infections. Yes, it was July 3, 2016 — my first official day of residency where I was no longer “just” a medical student. I was a doctor! My initial reaction was to look around me, thinking (and hoping) ...

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I was scheduled to attend a medical director's retreat the other day, but because of a horse emergency the day before, I had to stay home, so I offered to skip the retreat and see patients instead. It would have been almost an entire day hearing about trauma informed care and the lifelong impact of adverse childhood events. As a primer, the conveners of the seminar emailed a “dear doctor” letter ...

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Being the intern on the team, I knew the scut work belonged to me. Every medical student understands the hierarchy of the medical team, and there was just no way around that. If a patient needed urgent blood work drawn at 3 a.m., call the scut monkey as we were called. Any patient requiring a rectal exam required an intern to perform the test. Scut basically was any work that no ...

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Truthfully, I am not from a military family.  Naturally, my grandfathers were in the service, but they didn’t die serving.  Also, my birthday has always fallen on Memorial Day weekend, or near it.  So rather than visiting a cemetery, we usually have a small party.  For some reason, perhaps it’s the political divisiveness in my beloved country, I have been thinking more and more about Memorial Day. To my understanding, Memorial ...

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Some days, I get so frustrated at work. Yes, we all have our frustrations. Maybe traffic is slow, and you get to work late. Maybe you spill your coffee on your work clothes as you walk into your office. Maybe someone calls in sick, and you are short help at work. But this is big! Like so big, it can impact the trajectory of someone’s life. They, in turn, are forced ...

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Last fall I was witness to a miraculous event. I rarely take off from work, but did so on a Friday to go to Baltimore to lend moral support to my family doctor friend, Cathy Maslen. She and her workmates at Chase Brexton Health Care (a community health clinic in the Baltimore area with a focus on the gay and transgender community and the inner-city poor) were doing something that ...

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I have a confession to make. I don't understand the concept of burnout. I mean, I get the idea. Medicine is, at least when you are the kind of doctor who deals with life and death, inherently stressful. And I feel the stress. It's as if someone applied a vice grip to my insides in the middle of medical school, and it has never let up since. The pressure is ...

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